Dancing with a ghostly ballerina?
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When two boys, bored near tedium one hot summer day, decide to explore an abandoned theatre, the sleepy town of Wakefield soon wakens by what they discover.
Encore is filled with mystery, adventure, near misses, pleanty of troubles for Tom and Gary that eventually involves the entire town of Wakefield.
Summers normally flew by like migrating geese, but that summer was extra hot and long. Boredom was a word we seldom used because there was little time for boredom.
However, that summer before we entered the ninth grade seemed to never end because it was the hottest summer ever. It was too hot for fishing, too hot for bicycling, and everyone in town who was not working during the day was cooling off at the lakes. We had done it all and soon were bored near tedium. Sitting around the house or watching television resulted in someone finding chores for us to do, so we stayed outside as much as possible even with the sweltering heat.
“So, what do you want to do,” Gary asked while poking a stick at a half-dead cricket on the sidewalk. His sandy hair always looked as if he had just gotten out of bed with a cowlick in the back that would not stay down with anything short of glue.
“I dunno,” I shrugged my shoulders and leaned back on the gray wooden steps of his front porch. The sun was hot on my face and arms, but it felt good.
“We only have a couple weeks left before school starts. We can’t just sit here wasting time doing nothing.”
“We done it all already this summer, rode our bikes, played baseball, went fishing, and made Susan run home yelling, ‘mommy’ more times than we should’ve. What else do you want to do?” I asked with emphasis on “want” as if there was nothing else we could possibly want to do.
Gary stopped poking at the cricket because it was dead, and he looked as if a great idea attacked his brain. “Tommy, we haven’t gotten into trouble all summer. That’s what is missing,” he tossed the stick at the old elm tree in the center of the yard.
Sometimes, Gary’s idea of fun got him into trouble, but never too serious. He didn’t want trouble. He was only bored with normal things. He liked the thrill of getting away with something, or crossing forbidden boundaries. Sometimes, he persuaded me to go along by telling me that our parents didn’t want us to see something.
That something was what he seemed to be searching for when we went exploring. Had he known that that hot summer would be more something than he bargained for, he might have been content on going fishing for the remainder of summer break.
“Gary, I don’t want to get into trouble. Your dad expects it of you, but my dad will ground me for life if I get into any more trouble with you. He might even say we can’t hang out together anymore.”
“No, but…” I started, but I knew I was afraid. I did not want him calling me a coward, though, not ever, not by my best friend. Unfortunately, he knew that. More than once, he managed to get me to go along so I wouldn’t hear that “c” word. To be honest about it, I wanted to explore as much as he did, but I preferred a little coaxing so I would not feel guilty.
“We won’t do anything to get into real trouble,” Gary said as he stood up and started walking down the walk towards the street. He motioned for me to follow him. I had an ugly feeling in my gut; it could have been a voice in my head. Either way, I had a feeling I should go find something else to do, such as clean my room.
“Maybe we can go fishing again,” I offered as I caught up to him. “It’s getting late. Maybe we can think of something to do tomorrow.”
“Quit stalling. I know of a place we can go exploring. I’ve wanted to go there for a long time.”
“You know we are not allowed to go near the old theatre,” I knew where he was going. “The signs…”
“Signs schmigns, those are only there to scare us away. They don’t want anyone knowing the truth about what really happened there.”